Constitutional Law

Only 8 of 60 Ousted Pakistan Judges Return to Office; Lawyers Outraged

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There were some 60 appellate judges removed from office in November last year by the president of Pakistan after he declared a state of emergency criticized by the legal community as unconstitutional and imposed what many considered to be martial law.

Now, “in a move that has outraged the legal community, lawyers’ organizations and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N, the Pakistan People’s Party-led government on Wednesday restored eight judges of the Sindh High Court from among the 60 dismissed by the former president, Pervez Musharraf, in November 2007,” reports the Hindu.

The eight judges who returned were allowed to take new oaths of office, making it unnecessary for them to be reappointed by a divided parliament, the newspaper explains.

Despite earlier agreements between parties that have formed a ruling coalition to restore all of the judges to office, as well as promises of further protests by the country’s lawyers, if this doesn’t occur within a few days, the impasse over the issue doesn’t appear close to resolution.

A key concern is the potential return to the bench of the deposed chief justice of the country’s supreme court, Iftikhar Chaudhry, who is perceived by some as too strong a proponent of an independent judiciary, according to Bloomberg.

Until now, the group of deposed judges had stood together, refusing offers to return to their jobs until all, including Chaudhry, were restored to office, reports Agence France-Presse.

“This is a conspiracy aimed at dividing the judges and lawyers,” Rashid Razvi, a leader of the Karachi bar council, says of the current situation.

Earlier coverage: “Wrangling Over Restoration of Judges Intensifies in Pakistan”

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